Jacob had twelve sons after which the tribes of Israel are named: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin.Gen. 49:1-28 The tribe of Joseph is divided into two half-tribes named after Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, since Jacob had claimed them as his own and blessed them.Gen. 48:5 In Revelation, when the tribes of Israel are sealed, they are listed as such. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Asher were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Naphtali were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasseh were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.Rev. 7:2-8
There are different suggestions of who the 144,000 are and why the particular names are listed. Jehovah Witnesses, for example, used to claim that they were the 144,000 and, as soon as their membership reached 144,000, the world would end. Their membership has exceeded 144,000 and the world hasn’t ended. Some say the sealed represent the church, but the 144,000 are being sealed to identify them for their protection: And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads, Rev. 9:4 which differentiates them from Christians who are already identified: And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?Acts 19:15 The text identifies them as Jews by saying they are 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel, not of all the tribes of Israel into which the church is grafted. And, they are the firstfruits of the second resurrection: being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb,Rev. 14:4 As noted before there are two resurrections restoring men from the fall of Adam, 1Cor. 15:21-22 one for the church elect and the other for the enemy-of-the-gospel elect:Rom. 11:27-28 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment, John 5:29 and Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrected church: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 1Cor. 15:23
Some, particularly those who hold the pre-tribulation position, see the 144,000 as Jewish evangelists, but Christ and the 144,000 are Israel’s saviors on Mt. Zion in Obadiah: And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's: Obad. 1:21 their spiritual savior and their national saviors, eliminating the squatters from His land.
Although Christians are often indifferent to it, the land covenant is an important part of scripture. The theme of the promised land begins in Genesis,Gen. 12:1 and Esau, who despised his birthright (the promise)Gen. 25:34 is the only man that scripture says the Lord hated,Mal 1:3 References to the promise (Is. 43:5-7, Jer. 3:14, Zech. 10:6) echo through scripture, and when the kingdom was divided, He referred to the northern kingdom by the name of one of its tribes, Ephraim, and the southern kingdom by the name of one of its tribes, Judah, referring to all twelve tribes by the names of the two tribes whose scouts, Caleb and Joshua, did not return from Canaan with an evil report.Num 13 & 14
Having missed the promise of His first coming [Expecting Elijah (ELYH) instead of LORD God (EL YH)] the Jews were awaiting the fulfillment of the land promise when He came, but the promise was still for the future, and is being completed in scripture when the 144,000 are gathered on Mt. Zion: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. The promise to the land is not carte blanche, for the land belongs to the Lord, and is entrusted to Israel: The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me, Lev. 25:23 Christ, who will fulfill the promise is a Zionist, and, if we are not, we are not in Him.
In the sealing there are two tribes who are not listed among the sealed. Dan is missing. Some say Dan is excluded because he is identified as a serpent in scripture: Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that bites the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord. Gen 49:17-18 However, Dan has an inheritance in the kingdom,Ezek 48:1 and the serpent is not a symbol of evil. It is a symbol of a lowly creature. It can symbolize one spiritually low, as with Satan, or it can symbolize worldly low as Moses’ serpent which prophesied Christ: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.John 3:14 In the case of Dan, when he bites the horse heels, the rider falls backward into salvation. Dan isn’t listed because he doesn’t need to be sealed. The tribe of Dan strayed into idolatry among the gentiles,Judg 18:30 and the tribe of Dan comes into its kingdom inheritance among the gentiles as Christians, who are already sealed through Christ. The name of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons, is also missing from the list, but both Joseph and the half tribe of his other son, Manasseh, are listed. Some say both Joseph and Manasseh are listed because Joseph is allotted a double portion in the inheritance.Gen. 48:22 The sealing, again, is for identification, not allotting inheritance,Rev 9:4 and there is no need for double identification. The tribes in the Holy Land when the sealing takes place are sealed in their name. Ephraim is sealed in his father Joseph’s name, because Joseph is in the promised landJosh 24:32 when the sealing occurs, but Ephraim, American Jews, from which the cry against the piece process, the Oslo accord is not.Jer 4